Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Fajitas (a recipe)

As I have mentioned, I love fajitas--the grilled smokey flavor of beef, with a slightly charred edge. I make it at home all the time. Its easy. Chipotles in adobe are available in cans in most supermarkets in the Mexican food section. Smoked salt is hard to find (I buy it online) but adds a great extra layer of flavor to grilled food. Also, you will notice that I add salt twice to the beef. Because the marinade is principally oil, after you add the marinade to the beef, the oil will coat any salt that had not already dissolved into the meat. Since salt is not oil soluble, it will not penetrate the meat, but instead remain as a chunk of salt and be wiped off with the marinade. Therefore it needs to be replaced to balance the seasoning before grilling--don't worry, it won't be too salty.

6 cloves garlic, whole, peeled
1 shallot, roughly chopped
3 or 4 chipotles in adobo
1/4 tsp. cumin, ground (fresh ground is best, but whatever you have)
3 oz vegetable oil
Kosher salt (or smoked salt if you have it)
1 lime
A whole flank or skirt steak

Turn on your empty food processor and drop the garlic cloves one by one into the feed tube until they are minced. Do the same with the shallots. Scrape the processor bowl with a rubber spatula. Drop in the chipotles and roughly chop them into the garlic and shallots. Add the cumin. Pour the oil slowly through the feed tube into the vegetable mixture until the vegetables are finely chopped and the oil is emulsified.

Using a fork, poke some holes into the beef, all over. Sprinkle salt (smoked salt if you have it) liberally over he beef, both sides. Let sit for a few minutes for the salt to soak in a little. Liberally spread marinade over both sides of the beef. Wrap in plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours. Remove from refrigerator at least 1 hour prior to cooking.

Start a very hot fire on your grill for direct heat grilling.

Unwrap the beef and remove most of the marinade using paper towels (if you don't it will burn and be bitter). Sprinkle more salt on the beef. Drop the beef onto the grill. Turn the beef when the edges start to brown, but don't let it burn. The beef will be done when it starts to weep juices between the fibers of the meat for medium rare.

Remove from heat and let sit for at least five minutes. Slice thinly and squeeze lime juice over meat.

Serve with sauted onions and bell peppers on flour tortillas and the usual fajita condiments.

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